• galaxies: evolution;
  • galaxies: formation;
  • galaxies: high-redshift;
  • galaxies: starburst


We present here photometric redshift confirmation of the presence of large-scale structure around the z= 1.82 quasi-stellar object (QSO) RX J0941, which shows an overdensity of submillimetre (submm) sources. Radio imaging confirms the presence of the submm sources and pinpoints their likely optical near-infrared (NIR) counterparts. Four of the five submm sources present in this field (including the QSO) have counterparts with redshifts compatible with z= 1.82. We show that our photometric redshifts are robust against the use of different spectral templates. We have measured the galaxy stellar mass of the submm galaxies from their rest-frame K-band luminosity obtaining log(M*/M) ∼ 11.5 ± 0.2, slightly larger than the Schechter mass of present-day galaxies, and hence indicating that most of the stellar mass is already formed. We present optical-to-radio spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of the five Submillimetre Common-User Bolometer Array (SCUBA) sources. The emission of RX J0941 is dominated by reprocessed active galactic nucleus (AGN) emission in the observed mid-IR (MIR) range, while the starburst contribution completely dominates in the submm range. The SEDs of the other three counterparts are compatible with a dominant starburst contribution above ∼24 μm, with star formation rates ∼2000 M yr−1, central dust masses log(Mdust/M) ∼ 9 ± 0.5 and hence central gas masses log(Mgas/M) ∼ 10.7. There is very little room for an AGN contribution. From X-ray upper limits and the observed 24 μm flux, we derive a maximum 2–10 keV X-ray luminosity of 1044 erg s−1 for any putative AGN, even if they are heavily obscured. This in turn points to relatively small black holes with log(M/M) ≲ 8 and hence stellar-to-black hole mass ratios about 1 order of magnitude higher than those observed in the present Universe: most of their central black hole masses are still to be accreted. Local stellar-to-black hole mass ratios can be reached if ∼1.3 per cent of the available nuclear gas mass is accreted.